Where Is God's
by Brian Knowles
AMBASSADOR COLLEGE PRESS
This booklet is not to be sold.
It is a free educational service in
the public interest, published by
© 1973 Ambassador College
All Rights Reserved
Printed in U.S.A.
Does Jesus Christ have
many different church
teaching a different "qospel"
andpracticing different doctrines
- doing His Work? Is Christ
divided? How, when and where
did this religious babylon of
hundreds of denominations get
started? And how does one
recognize the true Church?
The Salvation Supermarket 9
Why So Many Denominations? . 14
What Is the Church? 000.0 0...... 23
How to Find the True Church .. 0.. 0.... 0...... 33
TIRE A vast religious supermarket, modern society offers
U a superabundance of prepackaged and widely diversified
Christianity. Looking over the conflicting
panorama of Christian denominationalism, one sees a
remarkable spectacle indeed!
Today's salvation scene is a glittering array of every
conceivable style and type of "Christianity." Whatever
your tastes or approach to religion, there is something for
Salvation for Sale
The time is Sunday morning. The place is a typical
American city of medium size. It is the day those who
profess Christianity attend the church of their choice.
Some have chosen the large and ornate cathedral at
the top of the hill. It is among the most prominent structures
in the city. Inside, several hundred devout worshippers
kneel piously before a decorative altar as the pungent
odor of burning candles wafts through the stale air.
Intricately carved figurines line the soaring walls as the
robed figure conducting the services monotonously mutters
in a language not understood by most of the congregatiOli
Around the corner and up the block another service is
10 Where Is God's True Church Today?
being conducted in the name of Jesus Christ. Here it is a
congregation that speaks in an "unknown tongue"! The
phenomenon is commonly known as "glossalalia." Supposedly,
these worshippers are speaking in a language inspired
by "the Spirit." Eyes glazed, backs arched in ecstatic
frenzy, participants of all sizes and shapes may be seen
writhing and twisting on the floor of this simple, one-room,
"pentecostal-" type church. Lips move uncontrollably as
unintelligible gibberish gurgles from the throats of grotesque
figures. The air is literally laced with rhythmic
organ and piano sounds as others shout "Hallelujah!" and
Can anyone fault such devotees for a lack of sincerity
Not all congregations are this "turned on," however.
Some Sunday services are conducted with quiet Protestant
dignity and decorum. Just down the street the
stained-glass tones of a more sedate preacher may be
heard as pink platitudes are presented to a composed and
dignified congregation. Following a short ten-minute "sermon,"
a gorgeously robed choir fills the air with the strains
of an old favorite hymn known and loved by all. The
majestic sounds of a huge pipe organ accompany the choir
as the congregation joins in singing praise.
Still another church with a difference, however, may
be found near the freeway. This is the "drive-in" church.
Here the attendees need never leave their automobiles to
participate in worship services. A flip of their car radio dial
will tune them in to their pastor who preaches from a
raised platform in front of a large parking lot. At least if
parishioners don't appreciate the words of their preacher,
they always have the option of tuning him out! Some may
choose to tune in one of the many "radio evangelists" who
fill the air waves with weekly doses of religion in a variety
To many religious people, "going to church" is just too
much of a bother. After all, they can get their religion on
Everyone "knows" one religion is about as good as another.
Still, every person who goes to church "knows" his
particular brand of religion will probably get him to "heaven"
a little more quickly, a little more efficiently, than all the
others. Either he believes this, or he is settling for second
Ever notice the remarkable similarity between claims of
dozens of religious philosophies and the detergent ads?
One claims it washes your clothes "cleaner than clean'"
The fact that such a statement is an impossible exaggeration
'never occurs to people. Still another claims it gets your
clothes "cleaner." But "cleaner" than what? Other soaps and
How can this be possible? All of them claim to get clothes
"cleaner," too. How accurate would it be for you to adopt the
idea that "all these detergent ads can't be wrong"?
Let's ask the question another way. Can they all be right? If
anyone of them is to be believed - positively - then every
other one must automatically be assumed to be wrong. If any
one of them really does get your clothes cleaner - then the
unspoken inference is that they get your clothes cleaner than
any other product.
What about religious philosophies? People say, "But all
these religions, these organizations, these philosophies can't
be wrong." But can they all be right?
Utterly impossible. If anyone of them is right - and
remember, they all differ - then that one being right automatically
renders all others wrong.
But in "choosing" a religion, a faith, or a church
thousands pick and choose just as if they were selecting
colorful boxes of soaps and detergents from the shelves of the
Surveys show many frankly admit they attend their church
because of its size, its standing in the community, its nearness
to their home, or the parking facility.
Only a few admitted they had given at least a little time to
searching into what the church taught. Fewer still seemed to
wonder whether it has the truth of God's Word'
What about you? Will you accept God's true religion based
on His Word?
12 Where Is God's True Church Today?
the radio. The lineup of electronic "evangelists" seems to
be almost endless.
Some listeners are asked to "establish a point of contact"
by placing their hand on the radio. Preaching styles
are many and varied. Some "evangelists" wheeze in a
raspy fervency while others shout in stentorian tones
appealing to their listeners to "send in your love offerin's
to keep this ministry on the air." Every psychological
device known to man is used to invoke a response from the
masses "out there in radio land." "A generous offerin'" will
bring the listener anything from a prayer cloth cut from
the revival tent to "sacred willow twigs."
But radio has its limitations. 'Many "evangelists" have
now turned to the more effective medium of television to
peddle their brand of salvation.
The TV Scene
Only the more successful radio evangelists have been
able to utilize the costly medium of television. Elaborate
costumes and sets, big-name entertainers and professional
direction and production are essential for effective presentation.
More and more radio preachers are making the transition
as television becomes firmly ensconced as the most
effective method of mass communication yet devised by
Some peddlers of piety have ignored both radio and
television. They have retained the older "tent meetin'"
approach. These itinerent preachers travel from town to
town holding revival meetings and tent campaigns, relying
on their personal magnetism and charisma to gain followings.
Small town populations often turn out en masse for
such presentations because they are the only available
form of entertainment. Nothing can quite match the show
business pizzaz of some of these revival preachers. Every
performance is a triumph of dramatics, applied psychology
and stage presence. Audiences are urged to contribute
heavily as they are swept by wave after wave of religious
emotionalism. "Decisions" are made and hearts are given
"to the Lord" year after year as revivalists capitalize on
The Salvation Supermarket 13
the ignorance of comparatively uneducated masses who
thirst for a relationship with their Creator.
American Missionary Zeal
No nation surpasses America when it comes to broadcasting
and advertising its way of life to the world. And
she is no exception when it comes to her religious wares.
"Evangelists" and missionaries have been sent to the
four corners of the earth in an effort to "spread the word"
and "win souls for Christ." Britain too was bitten by an
unusual missionary zeal and has contributed heavily to
the spreading of Protestant sectarianism around the
world. Other colonizing nations such as Holland, Germany,
France and Spain have also had their part in proliferating
their own brands of Christianity around the
World View of Christianity
The world view of Christianity is both confusing and
upsetting. Though there has been no U. S. census of religious
bodies since 1936, the 1972 edition of The Yearbook
of American Churches lists some 246 denominations in
America alone. This estimate does not include many
smaller and more obscure sects, independent churches and
Canada, a nation of less than 25 million inhabitants,
claims some 74 denominations of Christianity. Even predominantly
Catholic Italy lays claim to 13 Protestant
denominations within its borders. Black Africa, on the
other hand, has some 5000 sects all claiming roots in
Christianity! This does not include the basically European
or white denominations and sects on that continent.
All these denominations and sectarian divisions claim
the label "Christian." But are they really? Is Christ
divided? How many churches did Jesus of Nazareth establish?
Is God the author of such confusion and division?
Where is God's one true Church today?
Is JESUS the author of modern denominational confusion?
Is Christ divided into hundreds of dissonant
sects and denominations?
Jesus Christ did not found many denominations. He
said, "I will build my church ..." (Matt. 16:18). And He
did build it. One Church, commissioned to preach the
gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world.
But what do we find today? Hundreds of churches,
founded by men, all disagreeing with each other!
Jesus Christ said such things would happen!
He warned you would be living in a world literally
filled with religious confusion. He said, "Take heed that no
man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying
I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4, 5).
Notice Christ said many would come "in my name," that
is, using the name of Jesus Christ as if they had His
How It All
In Jesus' day there were no "Christian" denominations.
The Jewish religious leaders sat in Moses' seat and
judged in both religious and civil matters (Matt. 23:1-2).
Jesus acknowledged their authority (verse 3). But he also
made it clear that they were disqualifying themselves from
Why So Many Denominations? 15
further service as God's earthly representatives. Because
of their hypocrisy and internal corruption, they were no
longer fit to administer the way into God's Kingdom
Jesus told them: "Therefore say I unto you, The
kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a
nation bringing forth the fruits thereof' (Matt. 21:43).
But who was that "nation"? To whom did Christ give
the responsibility of administering the way into His Kingdom?
Peter, addressing the Church of God, wrote: "But you
are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation,
and a people, claimed by God for his own, to proclaim the
triumphs of him who called you out of darkness into his
marvellous light, Ye are now the people of God, who were
once not his people; outside his mercy once, you have now
received his mercy" (I Peter 2:9, The New English Bible).
Christ's own Church is now the vehicle through which
God does His work. But aren't there many churches
through which Christ administers salvation?
Jesus' final prayer for His Church provides the
answer. "I pray for them: I pray not for the world ... Holy
Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou
hast given me, that they may be one, as we are" (John 17:9,
Again, the Apostle Paul plainly said, "There is one
body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of
your calling; one Lord, one faith [body of beliefs], one
baptism ..." (Eph. 4:4-5).
Christ is not divided! He founded only one Church
with a single body of beliefs and doctrines.
The Church to Be Small and
Nowhere in the Bible do we find God's Church
described as a large and influential body in the world. On
the contrary, we find Jesus addressing the Church as the
"little flock" (Luke 12:32).
"If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute
you," said Jesus to His disciples (John 15:20). "... All that
16 Where Is God's True Church Today?
will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,"
wrote the Apostle Paul (II Tim. 3:12).
On the night Jesus was seized to be crucified, He said,
"It is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep
shall be scattered" (Mark 14:27).
Later, in Acts 8, we read of a great persecution which
caused the Church to be scattered throughout the regions
of Judaea and Samaria.
And the small, yet united, Church of God has been
scattered over the face of the earth, to one degree or
another, ever since.
Many False Prophets
On the other hand, Jesus warned: "And many false
prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:11).
It was the majority - the many - that were to be
deceived by a bogus, counterfeit Christianity! Jesus said,
"Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
because strait [difficult] is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"
Christ revealed in Revelation 12:9 that the whole
world isin a state of deception. "And the great dragon was
cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
which deceiveth the whole world. . . ." All of society has
come under the deceptive influence of this powerful, yet
incredibly evil spirit being. He is called "the god of this
world" in II Corinthians 4:4.
Satan Has His Ministers
Satan the devil has his ministers. Paul wrote: "For
such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming
themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for
Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore
it is no great thing if his [Satan~s] ministers also be
transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end
shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).
To understand what a false prophet (a minister of
Satan) is, it is easiest to define the contrast of a true
Why So Many Denominations? 17
prophet - a true minister of God. This is the shortest
approach because there is only one true ministry, but
there are many false ones. If we define a true minister,
then all others who do not fit that definition will be
revealed for what they are.
The True Ministry
What, then, does identify a genuine servant of God?
The Bible certainly does not leave us ignorant on this vital
question. Here are four important qualifications:
One: A true minister of God must study, preach and
live by every word of God - including the Ten Commandments.
If a man tells you something that he knows disagrees
with God's revealed Word, he instantly disqualifies
himself from being a true minister of Christ. Isaiah 8:20
and Matthew 4:4 confirm this.
Two: A true minister will teach the exact same gospel
Jesus did - the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.
He will teach repentance of sin and acceptance of Christ's
shed blood as a remission for those sins. But he will also
teach the very meaning of life - that we are made in
God's image to be finally born into His very family, that
man is to overcome and develop character so he can
become like God his Father, qualified to join other spiritborn
saints in literally ruling the world under Christ's
direction (Rev. 2:26). .
Three: A true minister must be busy doing the Work
of God. Busy warning a sick and cynical world where its
sins are leading it, busy broadcasting, preaching and
announcing the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of
God (Matt. 24:14).
He will have a deep understanding of biblical prophecy.
He will make these prophecies come alive with power
- warning this sophisticated, modern world of Christ's
imminent return, and focusing especially on the sooncoming
Kingdom - the literal government of God - to be
set up in the wonderful world tomorrow.
Four: A true minister can be identified by the fruits of
his ministry. What kind of results are being produced by
his efforts? Are lives being changed for the better? Are
18 Where Is God's True Church Today?
problems being solved? Do his words contain answers, or
are they mere platitudes and the quoting of poetry?
These are key points. Unless a man fulfills these absolutely
basic requirements, he is an imposter, merely masquerading
as a minister of Christ! [Editor's Note: If you
would like to meet and counsel with one of God's ministers
- let us know and we'll put you in contact with one in
your area. See page 41 for further details].
Many False Ministers
Maybe you are thinking, "Well, surely there are very
few ministers who would dare to deliberately twist God's
Word and deceive people. The ministers I know are sincere
and honest. Fine men." And undoubtedly there are many
very sincere men in the ministry. But it is possible to be
sincere and yet also be very much deceived. It is entirely
possible to be sincerely wrong!
You see, God did not say the false prophets would be
in the minority. God tells us there will be many such
individuals. Remember, Christ said: "For many [not a
small minority, but the many] shall come in my name
[claiming to represent Christ], saying I [Jesus] am Christ
[proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth as Saviour and Messiah];
and shall deceive many." So says your Bible in Matthew
Here God shows us that vast numbers of people would
be deceived by great numbers of false ministers who would
falsely claim to represent Christ.
Now you know how to recognize the true men of God
and also how to pinpoint a false prophet.
The Great False Church
The true Church of God came into being in 31 A.D. on
the Day of Pentecost. God blessed it with a great outpouring
of His power - His Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-8,
Soon after, the great false church had its beginning.
Even in the earliest of Paul's epistles, he informs us
that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work"
(II Thess. 2:7). Paul apparently wrote this in 50 or 51 A.D.
Why So Many Denominations? 19
The plot to supplant the truth had already begun. Notice,
the cleverly disguised teachings of iniquity or lawlessness
were at work in Paul's day. The Roman world was being
filled with numerous mystery religions which stemmed
from the old sun-worshipping mysteries. In the later
epistles of Paul, and in those of the other apostles, we find
it gaining considerable momentum.
The apostles, instructed directly by Jesus Christ, constantly
warned the Church about the great departure
from the faith that would begin to occur at the close of
Scarcely twenty years after the crucifixion of Jesus,
the Apostle Paul, in one of his first inspired letters, cautioned
Christians not to be deceived by false preaching or
by false letters purporting to be from the apostles. "Let no
man deceive you by any means: for that day [the time of
God's intervention in human affairs when Jesus Christ will
return to rule the nations] shall not come, except there
come a falling away FIRST" (II Thes. 2:3).
Apostles Knew What Would Happen
In Acts 20:29-30, the teacher of the Gentiles explains
how the apostasy would begin. He gathered the elders
(ministers) of the Church at Ephesus to deliver them a
final message concerning their responsibility over the local
congregations. "For," said Paul, "I know this, that after
my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you,
not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men
arise, speaking perverse things." Why? "To draw away
disciples after them. ~~ To gain a personal following for
themselves! To start a new denomination!
Do you catch the full significance of these two verses?
The elders or ministers were especially assembled because,
immediately after Paul would leave Ephesus, there would
come within the local Church congregations false ministers,
wolves in sheep's clothing, to make a prey of Christians;
and even from those elders already in the Church
congregations some would pervert the doctrine of Jesus to
secure a following for themselves.
20 Where Is God's True Church Today?
Gentile Deception Prophesied
Not only Paul, but also Peter, warned the churches
that MANY would be misled. There were false teachers
among Christians who would bring in heresies, "and MANY
shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the
way of truth shall be evil spoken of' (II Pet. 2:2).
False teachers secretly professed to giving a hidden,
yet easy, way to evade the consequences of breaking God's
law. Jude had to include in his letter the admonition that
every Christian "should earnestly contend for the faith
which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are
certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old
ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the
grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only
Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.... These be they
who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit"
(Jude 3, 4, 19).
True Christians Forced Out
Although numerous deceivers, called Gnostics, left
the Church, drawing away disciples after them, there was
an even more dangerous apostasy which infiltrated the
In instructing the Evangelist Timothy, the apostle to
the Gentiles instructed him to "reprove, rebuke, exhort
with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their
own lusts" - the congregations wanting to do what they
please - "shall they heap to themselves teachers" - elect
ministers who will preach what they want to hear
"... and they shall turn away their ears from the truth,
and shall be turned unto fables" (II Tim. 4:2-4).
This was in the days of the apostles and evangelists.
Many who fellowshipped in the local congregations of the
early Church, after about two generations, did not endure
sound doctrine because they had not repented and
received the Holy Spirit. They elected teachers who, for
the sake of money, pleased their wishes by preaching
fables - the enticing fables of mysticism and sun-worship
Why So Many Denominations? 21
that were engulfing the Roman Empire. The letters of
Paul were twisted by them to give another meaning than
intended (II Pet. 3:15-16).
But instead of leaving the local congregations and
forming their own sects, as some Gentiles did at first, the
false preachers remained within the congregations and
soon began to expel the true Christians.
In the letter of the Apostle John to Gaius, we read: "I
wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to
have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he
-doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not
content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the
brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth
them out of the church" (III John 9-10).
The true Christians, who alone comprised the true
Church, were being put out of the visible, organized congregations.
They were the SCATTERED ones of whom John
said: "Therefore the world knoweth us not" (I John 3:1).
In the Western Roman Empire, where Paul died, the state
of Christianity was even more advanced along the paths of
error. The name Christian was being borne away by leaders
who crept into the fellowship of the Church of God and
who, in the name of Christ, deceived the many into following
their false teachings.
The Two Churches
Thetwo churches (one false and one true) continued
to grow and extend their influence over vast areas of the
Roman Empire. The Apostle Paul reached many Gentile
areas with the truth of God. But he was constantly
opposed by Jewish and Gentile religious leaders. After the
death of Paul, the oldest apostle, John, spoke of apostates
who were undermining the efforts of God's true Church.
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have
heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many
antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They
went out from us, but they were not all of us . . ." (I John
False apostles continued down through the centuries
22 Where Is God's True Church Today?
to deceive the gullible. Soon the false church surpassed the
true Church of God in size and influence. False Christianity
became confused with the true Church instituted by
God's small and scattered flock disappeared into
obscurity. The only remaining records being those of her
enemies. Centuries of intense persecution forced the body
of Christ to go underground. Traces of it are seen here and
there but it never again was to become a substantial or
influential entity again until the latter part of this very
Today God has raised up a faithful body of believers
in order to proclaim the end-time message of the coming
Kingdom of God. He has set before them open doors to
preach that gospel or good news. Radio, television and the
printing press are all being utilized to carry that vital
message which for centuries has been suppressed by those
who hold down the truth in unrighteousness (Romans
But just what is the Church? Is it a group of buildings?
An organization of men and women?
To SOME, the Church is a building to which one goes
on a Sunday morning. To others, it is the sum total
of all Christendom with its myriad organizations,
orders, sects and denominations. Still others believe their
particular human organization is the Church of God. But
what is God's definition of the Church?
The Apostle Paul, referring to Christ's present position
at the right hand of God the Father, said that the
Father has "put all things under his feet, and gave him to
be the head over all things to the church, which is his
body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22
Again we are toldthat Christ is "... the head of the
body, the church ..." (Col. 1:18).
The Church, then, is the spiritual body of Christ. It is
the organism through which He works. But, just how is it
the body of Christ?
How the "Body of Christ"
The twelve disciples became the twelve original
apostles (Judas Iscariot excepted -- Matthias was chosen
in his place). But how did they, with the other disciples,
become "the body of Christ"?
While Jesus was starting the Work of God, He said: "I
can of mine own self do nothing," and again, "The Son can
do nothing of himself," and again, "... but the Father that
26 Where Is God's True Church Today?
How Made a Member
But how may one become a member of the body of
Christ? Is it merely a matter of joining the "church of your
Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the
Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him
up at the last day" (John 6:44, 65).
One cannot decide to join the body of Christ. It is
something God must put you into. We are instructed by
the Apostle Paul that "... now hath God set the members
everyone of them in the body, as it hath pleased him"
(I Cor. 12:18).
It is God alone who decides who will compose the
body of Christ. It is God who adds to the Church those
whom He chooses to be saved. ". .. And the Lord added to
the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).
How, then, does God add a member to the Church? Is
it a matter of signing on some dotted line? What is it that
signifies membership in the Church of God?
Paul informs us: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized
into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we
be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one
Spirit" (I Cor. 12:13).
It is the Holy Spirit - which is the power of God
(Acts 1:8) - which puts us into the body of Christ. We are
immersed or plunged into the Church by the receipt of
God's Spirit. (Write for our free article titled "How You
Can Be Imbued with the Power of God.")
One cannot put himself into the Church by "deciding
to join." When he becomes a son of God, by having and
being led by the Holy Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14), then God
has put him into the Church.
"Joining" a group that calls itself a church - having
one's name on the membership roll of some group calling
itself a church - does not make one in true fact a member
of the Church Jesus founded. Here is positive proof: "But
ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the
Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9).
Who is the real Head of God's true Church today? Jesus Christ?
Or some human individual? Some think that Matthew 16:18
proves that Christ turned the headship of the Church over to men.
But, what is the real truth? Let us examine this scripture very
Jesus said: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter
[Greek inspired original word, petros, meaning a "stone"], and
upon this rock [Greek inspired original word, petra, meaning a
"Iedge" or "shelf of rock" or a "crag"] I will build my church"
Now, since some claim that the rock on which the Church was
founded refers to Peter - and not Christ - notice the true
meaning, as originally written by Matthew in the Greek language.
The English versions of today are translations from the original
Peter was also called Cephas (Greek Kephes, from the Aramaic
Kepha). In John 1:40-42 is related how Andrew, Simon Peter's
brother, found Peter, and brought him to Jesus. "And when
Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou
shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (verse
42). The English word "stone" is translated from the Greek word
petros, meaning a single stone or loose stone. Also the Greek
word Kephss means such a stone, referring definitely to a human
But when Jesus said "upon this rock I will build my church"
(Matt. 16: 18), the Greek word, as written originally by Matthew,
was not either Kephas or petros, but petra, which means a large
The Greek petra cannot mean the human Peter, but the glorified
Christl Speaking of the Israelites under Moses in the wilderness,
Paul writes: " ... for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed
them: and that Rock was Christ" (I Cor. 10:4).
The Church is described in Ephesians 2:20 as being "built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [including Old
Testament prophets], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone. " Here Christ is plainly said to be the chief, or head.
The real foundation of the Church is Christ. "For other foundation
can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor.
3:11). And Jesus Himself said: "1 will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). He is shown in Revelation 1: 13, 18 to
be the Living Head, spiritually in the midst of the Church. Read of
it also in Ephesians 5:23; 4:15; 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 2:19.
Christ is alive today! For more than 1900 years, He has been
the Living Head and High Priest of the true Church, which He
28 Where Is God's True Church Today?
It is the living Christ who puts members into His
Church - and it is done by the Holy Spirit. Notice, now,
the conditions for receiving God's Spirit - Acts 2:38:
"Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive
the gift of the Holy Spirit." This is speaking of being
baptized in water. (Write for our free booklet titled All
About Water Baptism.)
The Holy Spirit is given by the laying on of hands
following baptism (Acts 19:5, 6). A person who receives the
Holy Spirit is "begotten" or conceived of God. Following a
life of developing and overcoming, the Christian is "born"
into the Family of God at the resurrection and return of
Christ (I Cor. 15:50-54; I Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6; Phil.
3:20-21; I John 3:1-2; II Tim. 4:8).
That body of believers, having the Holy Spirit of God,
constitutes the Church of God. But does this mean that
the Church has no organization?
How the Church is Organized
The Church of God is a spiritual organism. Christ is
its head and it is composed of ministers and lay members.
It is the minister's responsibility to feed the flock (see
John 21:15-17; Luke 22:32). He is required to be spiritually
Biblical standards governing the ministry are
enforced in the true Church. The Apostle Paul wrote to
the young evangelist Timothy: "A bishop [minister or
elder] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,
vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt
[able] to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of
filthy lucre [undue monetary riches]; but patient, not a
brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house,
having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a
man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he
take care of the church of God?) not a novice [a newcomer]
..." (I Tim. 3:2-6).
True ministers of God, Christ-chosen according to
these strict biblical standards, are very concerned about
the laity (individual church members). They willingly feed
What Is the Church? 29
the flock of God (I Pet. 5:1-3). They strive to bring the
Church to spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:11-13).
On the other hand, lay members of God's true Church
respect and obey the ministry (Heb. 13:7, 17).
Now some questions naturally emerge.
Can one who does not know of the true organized
Body doing God's Work, and therefore is outside of it, be a
member of the true Church which Christ built? The
answer is yes - for it is possible for one to have truly
repented, believed, and received God's Spirit - and be
following that Spirit as far as he sees and understands
who does not know of the organized Work Christ is using
today. But surely God's Spirit in him would lead one, in
due time, into his part in the organized Body the living
Christ is directing.
Is it possible that one who has joined a sect, church,
or denomination not doing God's Work, might be truly
converted, and led by God's Spirit in him? The answer is
yes - we have known of a few. But in every case, either
they came into the organized spiritual organism Christ is
using in the real Work of God - or, when their eyes were
opened to further light and truth, they rejected it and lost
the Spirit of God. And this was amply demonstrated by
Why the Church of Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was born in Bethlehem in
Judaea. He was the Son of God in the flesh. His ministry
lasted from the fall of 27 A.D. to the spring of 31 A.D. He
came to do the Work of preaching the gospel of the coming
Kingdom of God and to die for the sins of mankind. Part of
His work consisted of training disciples (students or learners)
to carryon the Work after His death on the cross. At
the completion of His ministry, He had 120 such students.
At least twelve of them became apostles (Acts 1:15,26).
After the death of Jesus, the apostles carried on the
preaching of the gospeL They traveled to distant countries
with the message of God's government. Of course, they
had to rely on personal evangelism since the modern printing
press and the radio had not been invented. Their work
God is Creator. Everything God has created in nature is
organized. Take a sturdy, beautiful oak tree. It has a root
system in the ground. It has a main trunk. It has major
branches joining to that trunk, smaller branches joined to
them, still smaller branches joined to each minor branch,
and finally the twigs joined to the smallest branches. But
they are all joined together as a system.
Jesus used the example of the vine. He is the Vine, we
the· branches (John 15: 1-8). Unless we are joined systematically
to the Vine, we can produce nothing. In a grape
vine, there is order - system - organization. '
The whole Work of God functions toward the restoration
of what has been taken away from the earth - the
government of God. The Kingdom of God is that government.
That government is an organized government.
God's form of government is government from the top
down. God the Father is the extreme top. Under Him is
the living Christ, administering God's government as God
And Jesus has set organization - government - order
- in the Church, under Him. God compares this
organized Body of Christ to a building.
"Now therefore ye ... are built upon the foundation of
the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the
chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed
together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in
whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of
God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2: 19-22).
The living Christ, Head of the Church, has put the
various administrators, officers, and members into the
Church as He Himself chose (I Cor. 12: 18, 28). Not as a
man chooses for himself.
What Is the Church? 31
was limited to the confines of the Roman Empire and a
few other countries.
One by one, tradition tells us, they were martyred.
John outlived all the others. Following John's death
around the end of the first century, others carried on the
Work. But from that time on, the organized preaching of
the gospel on a large scale fades from view. Of course, the
true Church continued to exist alongside a growing
counterfeit of biblical Christianity described in chapter
two of this booklet.
However, the true Church never died (Matt. 16:18). It
continued through various stages or eras, but not as a
powerful worldwide organization. It existed as a relatively
obscure, scattered and powerless entity for centuries. But
it never lost the basic truths of God. The true Church
recognized the true gospel. And undoubtedly the gospel
was preached on a small personal scale. But following the
death of John, the organized preaching of the gospel on a
powerful basis ceased. The Church was persecuted and its
numbers decimated in great martyrdoms. The concentrated
power of the "holy people" was scattered so that a
worldwide Work was virtually impossible.
God's Church Today
It was not until this modern twentieth century that
God again raised up a Work of sufficient size and influence
to preach the gospel on a powerful worldwide basis!
Today the primary objective of the Church of God is
to preach and publish the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom
and government of God (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark
13:10). God has commissioned His Church to cry aloud
and spare not, and show our peoples their sins (Isa. 58:1).
Its job is not to appease or cajole a sin-laden society. It is
to warn and witness to a world bent on self-destruction!
As an additional responsibility, God's Church represents
His way of life on this earth. Its members are commanded
by Christ to'be a light to the world (Matt. 5:14
16). A light shows the way. It sets the example. The
Church is called collectively the "salt of the earth."
As Jesus was a newscaster, so the Church is also to
32 Where Is God's True Church Today?
bring the positive good news of Christ's return and point
society to the world tomorrow. Speaking prophetically of
the Church, Isaiah wrote: "0 Zion, that bringest good
tidings [the gospel], get thee up into the high mountain; 0
Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice
with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities
of Judah, Behold your God!" (Isa. 40:9.)
Isaiah again referred to the commission of the New
Testament Church in chapter 52. "How beautiful upon the
mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good,
that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God
reigneth!" (Verse 7.)
Notice. The gospel includes the knowledge of just how
the world may obtain peace, of how good may prevail
against evil, of how salvation may be achieved. It proclaims
the coming rule of God. The Apostle Paul quoted
Isaiah in Romans 10:14-15 showing that he was indeed
referring to the Church.
In summary, Jesus said: "And this gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto
all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14).
The Church is for the purpose of preaching that gospel
to the world just before the culmination of this society.
The Spirit-led Christians of the Church of God provide the
human instruments through which God does His end-time
N THE confusing hodgepodge of denominational Christianity,
how can you locate the true Church of God?
Do not all claim to be a part of the body of Christ?
Will any Church say it is not the Church Jesus founded?
Of course not!
It is necessary to go to the Maker's Instruction Book
- the Bible - to find out just how you may locate the
Church which truly represents God's way on this earth.
Upholds God's Law
The true Church upholds God's law. It recognizes that
God set in motion a law that would bring (if obeyed) humanity
every good thing - abundant well-being - a full life.
God's Church boldly proclaims that His law is not
done away, but has been Christ-expanded to cover every
aspect of human activity (Isa. 42:21; Matt. 5).
The true Church says with David: "Thy word is a
lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps.
119:105). It recognizes that God's law is one of His greatest
gifts to mankind.
Must Preach the Correct Gospel
Jesus Christ came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom
of God. "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus
34 Where Is God's True Church Today?
came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of
God" (Mark 1:14). This is the same gospel His Church
preaches! (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20.)
The apostles later preached that same message of the
coming world government of the Kingdom of God. This is
the only gospel message acceptable to God. "But though
we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto
you than that which we have preached unto you, let him
be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any
man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have
received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).
Strong words those! But it does show just how important
it is to God that His Church be preaching the right
message. No other gospel will do! (Write for our free
booklet What Is the True Gospel?)
God's Church Understands
His Plan of Salvation
The true Church of God is the vehicle through which
God administers salvation. It understands the ultimate
purpose of human existence.
God has a plan by which mankind can be born into
the very divine Family of God. It involves repentance, the
forgiveness of sin, water baptism, and full redemption and
salvation (see Acts 2:38; 3:19). No other Church but God's
truly understands that man is to become God! The
Apostle John wrote toward the close of the first century:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet
appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall
appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is"
(I John 3:2).
Jesus Himself was criticized for saying that He was
the son of God. He answered: "Is it not written in your
law, I said, Ye are gods. If he called them gods, unto whom
the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken
..." (John 10:34-35).
A real Christian is destined to be born into the very
divine Family of God! Almost no one really seems to
understand this vital point. This is another earmark of the
true Church which God has called out of this society and
How to Find the True Church 35
given His truth to. Jesus said: "... It is given unto you to
know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven ..." (Matt.
(To really fully understand God's plan of salvation,
we recommend that you send for two of our free booklets
on the subject. They are titled: What Is a Real Christian?
and Just What Do You Mean - Born Again?)
Must Bear the Fruits of God's Spirit
Since it is the possession of God's Spirit that makes
one a member of the true Church, then we must also look
for unmistakable evidence of those fruits. Jesus tells us
how to tell the difference between a false prophet and a
true representative of God:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in
sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes
of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings
forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil
fruit" (Matt. 7:15-17).
What are the results of the labors of this world's
churches? Poverty, squalor, misinformation, broken
homes, divorces, permissiveness, etc.
But what are the fruits borne by those who possess
God's Holy Spirit? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,
temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
The Name of the True Church
There are as many names as there are churches. But
what name did God place upon His people? What name
does God use for His Church in the Bible?
Surprisingly, the term "Christian" was first coined at
the Gentile city of Antioch. "And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). Antioch became
the headquarters for the Apostle Paul's evangelistic efforts
to the Greek-speaking world.
The expression "Christian" is used only twice more in
the Bible - by King Herod Agrippa II (Acts 26:28), and
by the Apostle Peter in I Peter 4:16. Peter wrote: "Yet if
36 Where Is God's True Church Today?
any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed;
but let him glorify God on this behalf."
But it is not used as the name of the Church! It is just
a label hung on those who followed Christ by those who
did not! (Of course, the term "Christian" is not a pagan
word and it is perfectly all right to use it in print and
Jesus prayed that God the Father would keep the
Church in His (the Father's) own name (John 17:11). But
Christ is the Head of the Church (Col. 1:18). And Christ is
The Church is actually an extension of the Family of
God. Paul wrote: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ofwhom the whole family
in heaven and earth is named" (Eph. 3:14-15).
The Church is named by the Family name of God.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches, he used
the expression "to the church of God ..." This name is
used no less than twelve times in the New Testament as
the name of the true Church (see accompanying box).
Notice that Paul did not call the true Church after
the name of a man or a method or even a church doctrine.
Therefore we see that the true Church may be properly
identified by its name, "the Church of God."
But there are many churches with this same name. At
least a dozen churches bear the name "Church of God" in
the United States alone.
Therefore we must look further.
The True Church
Keeps God's Sabbath
Not only must the true Church be named the Church
of God, it must also be a Sabbath-keeping Church. We are
told that the true Church keeps "the commandments of
God" (Rev. 12:17). This includes the fourth commandment:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six
days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the
seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God ..." (Ex.
God did not make any other day holy! The seventhday
Sabbath was to become an identifying sign between
of the True Church
What is the biblical name for the Church? The Bible gives the
true name of the Church in twelve different places. Twelve is
God's complete number for organizational beginnings.
In five scriptural passages where the true name of the Church
appears, the entire Body of Christ - the Church as a whole
including all individual members - is indicated:
1) " ... Feed the church of God" (Acts 20:28).
2) "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles,
nor to the church of God" (I Cor. 10:32).
3) " ... Or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that
have not?" (I Cor. 11 :22.)
4) " ... Because I persecuted the church of God" (I Cor.
5) " ... Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God" (Gal.
Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true
Church is also called "the Church of God." Usually it is used in
connection with the place or location.
6) "The church of God which is at Corinth" (I Cor. 1 :2).
7) "The church of God which is at Corinth" (II Cor. 1:1).
8) "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall
he take care of the church of God?" (I Tim. 3:5.)
9) " ... Behave thyself in the house of God, which is the
church of the living God" (I Tim. 3: 15).
In speaking of the local congregations collectively - not as
one general Body - but as the total of all local congregations,
the Bible name is again "the Church of God." Here are the final
10) " ... We have no such custom, neither the churches of
God" (I Cor. 11 :16).
11) "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God
which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus" (I Thess. 2: 14).
12) "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God"
(II Thess. 1:4).
Since Christ is the Head of the Church, Paul also called the
various congregations "the churches of Christ" (Rom. 16: 16)
but the actual name is The Church of God.
In some New Testament instances, a descriptive adjective is
added to the name, as the Church of God at Corinth, or the
Churches of God in Judaea. And - today, it is The Worldwide
Church of God.
38 Where Is God's True Church Today?
God and His people. "It is a sign between me and the
children of Israel for ever ..." (Ex. 31:17). Today's Christians
are spiritual Israelites (Gal. 3:29).
The ancient Israelites were also called the "church in
the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). God has never changed His
Sabbath sign! Man is not authorized to change what God
has ordained from creation. There is no biblical sanction
for Sunday-keeping whatsoever. Jesus and the Apostle
Paul kept the seventh-day Sabbath. It will be kept by all
the world - Gentile and Israelite alike - in tomorrow's
world when the Kingdom of God reigns (Isa. 66:22, 23).
(For a complete exposition of the Sabbath day, be sure to
write for our free booklet Which Day Is the Christian
The keeping of God's seventh-day Sabbath is a further
way of isolating and identifying the true Church of God.
This narrows the field considerably.
The true Church of God should be showing the way to
world peace and human harmony. It should be demonstrating
proper family relations (Mal. 4:5-6). It should be
living by and practicing every word of God' (Matt. 4:4;
Luke 4:4). God's Church does not attempt to "demythologize
the Bible," it believes all of the Bible to be inspired
and God-breathed. God's people believe that "all scripture
is given by inspiration of God ..." (II Tim. 3:16).
True Christians derive their doctrines strictly from
the Bible (Isa. 8:20). They do not rely on human traditions
The true Church uses the Old Testament as did
Christ, the Apostle Paul and all the other New Testament
apostles and elders. It does not merely hold to the
"Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament" as some seem
The Church of God, then, must be a Sabbath-keeping
Church with the correct name. It must keep all ten of the
Ten Commandments and live by every word of God - not
rejecting part of the Bible. It is God's Church because it
collectively possesses the Holy Spirit. It preaches the true
How to Find the True Church 39
gospel of the coming government of God, bearing the good
fruit of the Holy Spirit.
How many churches do you know that fit that
Only God can place one into the body of Christ. The
true Church is not something you may "join" - it is
something you are immersed into by the Spirit of the
living God. But, if God is leading you by His Spirit to His
truth, it is up to you as an individual to seek Him.
Isaiah wrote: "Seek ye the Lord while he may be
found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy
upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon"
And God warns through the same prophet: "And
there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up
himself to take hold of thee ..." (Isa. 64:7).
Will you stir yourself up? Will you search out the true
Church and become a part of it? It is your choice! D
Ambassador College publishes many colorful, informative
booklets on a wide range of biblical topics. Four are
Does it make any difference which day we observe?
Does the Bible establish Sunday as the Lord's Day? Was
the Sabbath given for the Jewish people only - while
Christians are commanded to keep Sunday as the Lord's
What are the very basic, down-to-earth fundamentals
of Christianity - the very heart, root, and core of the
teachings of Christ? And did Jesus teach that real repentance
and water baptism are necessary for salvation?
Is water baptism essential to salvation? What about
the thief on the cross? Was he saved without it? What is
the proper form or mode - sprinkling, pouring or immersion?
Should babies and children be baptized?
This is the true story of a unique church that has
found the solution for the world's ills, and puts it into a
living application that is producing a harvest of peace,
happiness and abundant well-being worldwide.
Write for your personal copies of the above booklets.
They are sent free as an educational service in the public
interest. Worldwide mailing addresses are at the end of
ELIEVE it or not, the Bible was written for our day,
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and what the final outcome will be.
But ironically, this "Book of all books" is the LEAST
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Simply because when most people try to read the
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But you can understand it.
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